In between playing Arkham Asylum and various other little projects I have on the go at the moment (including avoiding doing work for University) me and Ali decided to buy Ms. Splosion Man by Twisted Pixel on XBox Live. The sequel to the extremely successful Splosion Man, Ms. Splosion Man is pretty much the same game only with some new features and a female protagonist.
Me and Ali had an absolute blast playing the first one. We got all the collectibles, and actually re-did all the missions until we had gold-trophies for all of them (if memory serves me right) so I can say that the first was a resounding success for us. And you know what, it’s sequel is no disappointment at all!
Like the original, Ms. Splosion Man is a platform game which involves solving puzzles by propelling yourself through the air by exploding (or sploding) rather than jumping. You can also interact with a variety of different objects, usually by sploding near them. And that’s about it for the mechanics of the game. In fact it’s a game for which the phrase “brilliantly simple” fits like a glove.
Ms. Splosion Man can splode three times in succession before her energy and ability to splode runs out and this is basically the equivalent of a triple jump. You can then get higher or further by sploding off objects or walls or explosive barrels and there are various ways to recharge your energy mid-flight.
There are a few new features that weren’t in the first game such as trampolines, hand-rails and weird energy ball, battery things… And all the new features are such that while playing it me and Ali would go “Ooo, that’s a nice new feature!” Nothing felt forced “new-for-the-sake-of-new” and everything still felt tight and great to play.
Like it’s predecessor me and Ali are actually fairly far into the multiplayer of Ms. Splosion Man (you can play locally with up to three of your friends by the way!) and haven’t even looked at the singleplayer. That’s because multiplayer feels like the purpose Spolsion Man was designed for. Mucking about with some friends, explosions and puzzles! I will play the singleplayer, like I did with the last game, but I will always think that the multiplayer was just so much more FUN! Plus I think the multiplayer does involve an iota more skill than singleplayer as it often involves timing your splodes so that you can shoot your partner/s about the place.
The puzzles and levels themselves are still as well designed and thought out as in the first one. With a slow but steady increase in difficulty to match your increase in skill you will only occasionally find yourself struggling with levels or sections of the game. And that too is in the spirit of Splosion Man. If you focus enough you should be able to breeze through the levels but really, you won’t be focusing too much. You might be drinking, you might be socialising, you might be focusing on trying to kill your team-mate instead of winning (and yes… that happens A LOT!) but you will always be having fun!
In fact “fun” is another thing that fit’s Ms. Splosion Man like a glove (or in this case a pair of stylish high-heels). It’s casual and ridiculous and doesn’t take itself seriously, and as such it is the perfect game to just sit back and unwind with.
Case in point, yesterday me and Ali got to a level which reintroduced some platforms which spin around when you splode on them. This means that the platform switches between two positions every time you splode on it. Naturally, underneath it was some deadly, toxic acid so if you sploded straight up off the platform you would come down through thin air. Me and Ali were stuck on this short and very easy section for about 5 minutes because we kept trying to time our splosions to get ourselves safely across while killing the other one. And each time one of us managed we both became helpless with laughter. So much so that the victor of the exchange would usually mess up and promptly get himself killed too. And this never got boring!
And this happened in more than one section as well!
The graphics and design still look good. The colourful and cartoony feel tie in perfectly with the atmosphere of easy-going amusement and all the animations are smooth and enjoyable. In fact just the overall feel and style of the game is awesome and relaxing simply because it just screams “chill-out! enjoy yourself!” It’s usually pretty funny as well, one of the nice little touches I liked was that when you splode some scientists in the game they will fly off the platforms you are on and hit the screen and slide off. It’s the little things that sometimes just make a game…
I would say, I’m a little confused about the lack of boss-fights in the game so far. The boss fights in the original were great fun and were actually a lot more memorable than some of the big boss fights in the big corporate games I’ve played recently. So why there haven’t been any in this game is a mystery to me as I feel they were an important part of the first one and more deserve to be in this one.
Anyway, there you have my 10 cents on Ms. Splosion Man! You can check the trailer here as well after the rating!